While BMW is still missing a real M440i, Mercedes-AMG is taking all the spotlight with its new C 43 Coupe. And that is not all, as Audi has also just launched its new S5. Is the retrofittable M performance kit in the 440i enough to beat the Mercedes-AMG and Audi? FULL COMPARISON TEST via autobild.de.
The sporty middle class was once the domain of the 3 Series coupe. That has changed – at least in view of the current top competitors, Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe and Audi S5. Among them, the 440i seems somewhat overwhelmed. Now the BMW M Performance range of accessories is designed to bring the 440i back to eye level, not just in terms of performance and sound, but also in terms of dynamics.
The “Power & Soundkit” increases the power output by means of modified software and new exhaust system from the standard 326 hp to 360 hp. In addition, the torque increases from 450 to 500 Nm in the automatic version (manual transmission 480 Nm). BMW promises improved acceleration from 0.2 seconds to 100 km / h and unchanged fuel consumption. The rear-wheel drive test car uses M Performance suspension with coil springs and a mechanical limited-slip differential in addition to the increased performance. On the exterior, the front lip, mirror caps and rear spoiler made of carbon provide sporty M accents. But the 18-inch wheels are a bit lost in the width of the wheel arches.
But a narrow foot has already caused some surprises elsewhere: behold the new S5. Audi’s sport-friendly middle class has received a very positive response since its reissue. The S5 pushes its front axle into understeer with exuberance, which reaches inside a curve precisely that point of lateral dynamics that British colleagues like to describe as the “sweet spot” of handling, helping the car exit the apex with maximum precision.
The single-turbo V6 with 354 hp delivers its thrust always mindful and effective, but without presenting its full-fledged power particularly emotional. The eight-speed automatic initially keeps the gear changes short/rapid in order to finally pay for the sovereign, relaxed driving experience with two longer gear ratios. In short: The Audi S5 is a little reserved in the feeling department, but very agile.
Something similar should be expected from the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupé, which offers similarly good equipment for well-groomed curves with its rear-heavy 40: 60 four-wheel drive. In addition, AMG garnishes the standard Adaptive suspension with the bearings and wishbones of the big brother C 63. Not the worst hardware, but at the limit, while extremely defined, the C 43 is at the same time almost too stiff. The front end plops when braking hard on the front axle and can then be solved only with the help of understeer. Too bad, because the smooth, but sensitive steering, the C 43 can be wonderfully lead directly into any kind of curve, while the brakes convey a lot of confidence even in very forced driving.
And last but not least, the drive is what makes the AMG a consistently enthralling journeyman: The V6 Biturbo starts somewhat restrained, but has its full boost pressure and the torque of 520 Newton meters between 2000 and 4000 rpm delivered once together. To do this, the nine-speed automatic shoots the coupe with short speed jumps through the gear ratios, until the pace increases close to the top 250-km / h on the limitless Autobahns.
With its well-engineered suspension and the harmoniously applied M Performance enhancement kit, the BMW 440i again clearly places itself ahead of its competitors Audi and Mercedes-AMG. That inevitably raises the question: Why does not BMW just put it on the street right from the factory? An M440i in the style of the test car would be the most sporty M Performance model to date and would save the customer the complicated journey through the accessories catalog and the retrofitting of the workshop.
|Model||S5 Coupé||440i Performance||C 43 Coupé|
|Engine||V6 turbo||R6 turbo||V6 biturbo|
|Capacity||2995 cm³||2998 cm³||2996 cm³|
|Power kW (PS)/rpm||260 (354)/5400-6400||265 (360)/5500||270 (367)/5500-6000|
|Power/l||118 PS/l||120 PS/l||122 PS/l|
|L/W/h||4692/ 1846 / 1368 mm||4640/1825/1377 mm||4686/1810/1405 mm|
|Wheelbase||2765 mm||2810 mm||2840 mm|
|0-100 km/h||4,8 s||4,4 s||4,7 s|
|Max. speed||250 km/h||250 km/h||250 km/h|
|Price (Germany)||67.025 Euro||69.856 Euro||66.641 Euro|